You’ve heard about the song even if you haven’t heard it yourself. Brian McKnight—the ‘90s R&B crooner who made music that made us all want to jump the broom—jumped back into the public fray for a little ditty he created.
The song was racy for a guy like McKnight; the "p---y" lyrics, seemed a bit out of his lane. He said on a YouTube video he posted late one night that he made the song after copious conversations with men and women about sex. And he gave us a sample of what he was working on; at the time, he said he’d been toying with the idea of doing "an adult mixtape."
The chorus sounded much like those melodic R&B love songs he made famous fifteen years ago. But the words were what grabbed at people and had him trending on Twitter for days. He sang to a woman who wasn’t sexually satisfied. He used language that we’d more likely hear in a Lil’ Wayne song—and on a bonus track, at that.
Since then, the offers have come rolling in. The singer recently was offered—and turned down—the chance to perform at the AVN Awards—which is the annual adult industry awards show, and he turned down the chance to make a signature song for a leading adult online portal. The offer McKnight did accept however, was a chance to officially make light of the whole situation teaming up with comedy site Funny or Die for a music video for the track just released today.
EBONY.com snags an exclusive interview with McKnight and he tells us why he did it, why he wouldn’t do it again and why you’ll never hear him sing the song at one of his live shows.
EBONY: “iFUrReadyToLearn" is an abrupt departure from your music, why did you want to make that song now?
Brian McKnight: Well, first off, I prefaced that whole video off by saying that I was thinking about doing an adult mixtape—which to me should’ve let people know that, one, it probably wasn’t going to be the garden-variety, regular sort of music that I create. I thought that the outrageousness of the video would’ve shown people that it was a joke.
EBONY: Did it surprise you that people didn’t take it as that, as a parody?
BM: It did. I always assumed, number one, that, as a celebrity, the fact that I only have 40,000 followers means what? That those people deal with me on a daily basis, they know how I operate…they’ve seen me perform, they know that I use humor. I float stuff all the time that doesn’t become the number one trending subject in the world. You know? The other side of that is that (is) the comments come back and go, "We think you’re this, and that’s only what you should do," and I’m like, really? Are you out there interrogating every other person that does this?’ It goes "We don’t expect much from them (other musical artists) so that’s okay, so we can jam to them, but not you." And my question is if that’s the case then why is my art form dying? If all these people love it so much, why are they not adamant about making sure that it’s around?
"I’m willing to put my career on the line to say as loud as I possibly can that we have to stand up to the things that everybody’s saying that they want. If we support those things, then you always have an outlet for that."
EBONY: So you’re challenging R&B by doing this?
BM: What I’m saying is, are we okay with the fact that that’s all that’s being made? And if not, instead of sitting around and complaining about it, now that this has happened—although it was not my intention—let’s actually talk about it. Let’s talk about how concerned you really are, because there’s a song out that I heard in the club called ‘Beat Your P---- Up’ that nobody had any problems with, because they didn’t expect much from that person. But that person could’ve been somebody who wanted to do something different, but they were told that this would be the only way that they were going to make it, and the only way I was going to quantify that was by doing it ourselves and look what happened. If I say that before I do it, they’re just gonna say, ‘Oh, you’re just hating on today’s music.’ So I couldn’t come from that standpoint, could I?
EBONY: A number of your Twitter followers came at you, and called you sexist. They didn’t like what you said back to them in response after you initially posted that video…
BM: What I took away from that is that they didn’t listen to the song. They listened to the chorus, cause it’s the beginning of the video and they didn’t really listen to it and now that it’s out they haven’t either, because if you really pay attention this girl is talking to her vibrator.
EBONY: I was gonna